Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. Deuteronomy 32:7
Park Cities Baptist Church began with a mission of reaching people in North Dallas for the Lord. The great George W. Truett, who was pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, remarked, "There ought to be a Baptist church in the Park Cities." Over the summer of 1939, a few men who lived in the Park Cities gathered some neighbors and organized a new church. On October 26 of that year, they chartered the Park Cities Baptist Church. The first meeting place was the University Park Elementary School.
The First Decade
By the end of December 1939, Park Cities called its first pastor, Dr. R. Alton Reed. Soon, the church bought a large, old house on Lovers Lane. Membership grew from about 100 in the beginning of 1940 to almost 1,000 by the end of 1946. In 1947, Dr. Reed resigned to take a new position of ministry. Dr. Herbert R. Howard was called to be the second pastor. He preached his first sermon at Park Cities in January 1948.
From a Grass Field to a Great Campus
During the 22 years Dr. Howard was pastor, the church Park Cities grew tremendously in membership, activities, missions, and influence in the city and in Baptist affairs. In what was just a field of grass at the time, the buildings on the church campus were begun in 1948. Two educational buildings were completed in 1950 and the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall were completed in 1956. Additional buildings included the Activities Building in 1962, Ellis Chapel in 1967, and the Collins Building in 1988.
Upon the retirement of Dr. Howard, the church called Dr. James L. Pleitz to be its third pastor. He retired in 1993. Dr. Allen Walworth was called in 1994 and served as Park Cities' fourth pastor through 1997. In March 1998, Park Cities called its fifth pastor, Dr. James C. Denison. During the past ten years at Park Cities, teams of professional staff and lay leaders have initiated and expanded local ministries and global missions. The church named Miller Cunningham to be the Senior Pastor- Leadership in 2008 to serve alongside Dr. Denison. In early 2009, Dr. Denison resigned from Park Cities to take a position with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Center for Informed Faith. Dr. Jeff Warren was named as the senior pastor in September 2010. Pastor Jeff, who had served as senior pastor at First Baptist McKinney for 11 years, was returning to Park Cities where he had served for 11 years as youth pastor, pastor of married adults, and associate pastor of evangelism.
A Beacon to Our Community, A Light to the World
In the mid-1990s, PCBC invested intensive research, thought and prayer to develop plans for its future ministries. Besides innovations in worship, discipleship training and community outreach, the plans called for dramatic increase in physical space and parking. In the spring of 2002, the church committed itself to building a new Community Life Center. The three-story underground parking garage opened in September 2005. The three-story building opened in the summer of 2006, with abundant space for the Youth and Preschool ministries, as well as a state-of-the-art facility for worship and other gatherings.
By 2008, the church saw its worship services expand to five each weekend, including two in the Great Hall, two in the Sanctuary, and a Spanish-bilingual service in the Gym. At the same time, the congregation embraced the expansive "Acts 1:8 Initiative." The 1:8 moniker has become a central and driving reminder of our mission strategy – to take the Gospel to the whole wide world – through acts of compassion, relationships, evangelism and discipleship – starting right here in Dallas.
Over the past few years, Dr. Warren has led the ministerial staff, leaders, and church family through the most intensive process of mission clarity PCBC has ever known. The pastors and leaders have engaged hundreds of members in an intensive process of mission clarity. Today, we seek “to rescue one another from cultural Christianity to follow Jesus every day.” Our mission is accomplished through a simple strategy that helps people worship weekly, connect weekly (through one of our Connect groups), to serve regularly, and to multiply as a lifestyle. The boundless Gospel of God’s recuing grace drives us.
God has been faithful to PCBC through the years. With a wonderfully diverse membership of over 10,000 people, the church family is marked by an overflowing generosity resulting in hope for the hopeless and broken through global mission efforts as well as a loving influence that runs deep into our city. The inexhaustible grace of Christ guides our people to love and serve others. Through seven decades, God has led us, but His best days are ahead for us! With a courageous innovation we face the future driven by a relentless urgency to share God’s love with our friends and neighbors. We know (as it says on our clock tower) that “night cometh,” when we will no longer be able to share His great love with the world. So, with great joy we live for Him, as we follow Jesus every day.